Ann Arbor Dog Laws

The City of Ann Arbor has many rules regarding the ownership of dogs. This article outlines those rules.

Violations of Ann Arbor Dog Laws

The following acts are all civil infractions (with one exception noted below). A first offense is a fine of $25 to $500, and a second offense of certain violations below may come with an increase if a $50 to $500 fine:

1. The dog is at any time not under reasonable control. Reasonable control is defined as

  • Secured by a leash held by a person
  • Secured by a leash attached to a stationary object
  • On the premises of the owner or in the owner’s vehicle
  • In a dog play area – dog park

2. The dog causes a noise nuisance. A noise nuisance is defined as

  • Barking, howling, meowing, squawking or making other sounds, frequently or for a continued duration, which annoys, endangers, injures or disturbs a person of normal sensitivities on premises other than that occupied by the owner of the animal. After 10:00 p.m. and before 7:00 a.m., animal noises audible beyond the property line of the property where the animal is located are presumed to be an annoyance and disturbance and are presumed to constitute a noise nuisance.

3. The dog causes a sanitation nuisance. A sanitation nuisance is defined as

  • Unsanitary conditions resulting from animal droppings, food waste, debris, or any other thing to cause vermin infestation, odors, or disease hazards.

4. The dog is over 6 months old and is unlicensed by the city and is not wearing a license tag

5. The dog (except for service dogs for the blind) goes poop not on it’s own property and the owner fails to get the poop.

6. The dog or the dog’s owner is in violation of a dog park rule.

7. The dog is vicious. Possession of a vicious dog is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail. A vicious dog is defined as

  • The dog has killed a person or caused a person serious bodily injury, including, but not limited to, injuries resulting in hospital confinement or reconstructive surgery. The dog is owned, possessed, harbored or trained for the purpose of animal fighting. The dog repeatedly bites or in any way injures people.

8. The dog is in any location other than confinement in violation of a confinement order.

9. The dog has symptoms of rabies or has bitten or been bitten by another animal showing symptoms of rabies and the owner fails to notify an animal control officer of that fact.

10. A dog’s owner fails to comply with all terms of a confinement order.

11. The dog has been sold or disposed of based on an impound order and the dog’s owner acquires another dog within 1 year of that impound order.

12. A dog’s owner fails to provide the animal with proper food, drink or shelter from the weather.

13. A dog’s owner fails to provide the dog with medical attention necessary to prevent the dog from suffering.

14. A dog’s owner confines or leaves the dog in a vehicle or other enclosure without adequate ventilation to prevent the dog from suffering.

15. A dangerous dog, when kept out of doors, is not in a pen or kennel sufficient to restrain the dog and surrounded by a perimeter fence not sharing common fencing with the pen or kennel. A dangerous dog is defined as

  • An dog which has bitten a person so as to draw blood or caused a person broken bones or which has repeatedly attacked, chased or menaced any person or damaged the property (including animals) of persons other than the owner. An dog is not considered dangerous solely because it has bitten or attacked a person or any animal attacking its owner or its owner’s family, nor is the dog considered dangerous if it bites or injures a person who has, without justification, provoked it by attacking it or its young.

16. The person is convicted of owning a vicious dog and then acquires another dog within 2 years of the date of the conviction.

Animals Control Officers

The Ann Arbor Police Department has animals control officers who have the authority to impound;

  • Any dog not under reasonable control
  • Any dog which has bitten a person
  • Any dangerous animal
  • Any unlicensed dog
  • Any dog causing a noise disturbance
  • Any dog causing a sanitation disturbance
  • Any dog showing symptoms of rabies or which has bitten or been bitten by another animal showing symptoms of rabies

Animals control officers may also

  • Humanely kill any dog when such action is needed to protect persons or property or to prevent suffering by the dog

Impounded Animals

Dogs may be impounded by animal control officers. A dog that has bitten a person or is suspected of having rabies may be confined for up to 10 days to determine if the dog has rabies.

Impounded dogs may be released to the owners upon a payment of a fee and boarding fee to the City in addition to presentation of proof the dog has been inoculated and licensed.

The dog’s owner must obtain the dog’s release within 4 days of the dog’s confinement 4 days from the end of a rabies confinement. If not, the dog may be sold or disposed. A licensed dog may only be sold or disposed of 7 days from the time the dog’s owner is notified of the impound.

Alternative Confinement For Dogs

In a situation where an animal be impounded, an animal control officer may issue a confinement order on the following terms:

  • The dog’s owner will securely confine the animal for 10 days at the owner’s premises or at a veterinary hospital
  • If confined at the owner’s residence, the dog shall be kept inside, or when outside, be securely kept at least 5 feet away from any sidewalk, street, or other property.
  • Owner must pay an inspection fee
  • If the dog dies, the remains must be inspected by a veterinarian and the results be provided to the animal control office.

An alternative confinement order for a dog may be issued on the discretion of the animal control officer, based on a finding that;

  • The owner is willing to comply with the terms of the order
  • The owner has the means to comply with the order
  • The public will not be endangered by the alternative confinement order
  • The dog is not vicious
  • The dog has not previously been subject to an order for alternative confinement

Read the Ann Arbor City Code Here for a complete listing of dog and animal laws.

Call Us

Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at

Sam Bernstein is an Ann Arbor Attorney practicing Criminal Defense.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 2750 Carpenter Rd #2, Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

Read More

  • Domestic Assault Cases
  • Operating While Intoxicated by Prescription Meds
  • Michigan Moves Closer to Protections for Pit Bulls
  • Roid Rage: Driving Under the Influence of Steroids

ArborYpsi Law’s Criminal Defense Practice

A violation of any of the above rules would be prosecuted in the 15th District Court. The case would be brought by the City of Ann Arbor Attorney, as opposed to the State Prosecutors. There are state laws regarding the regulation of dog and animal ownership as well. The laws listed here are just for the City of Ann Arbor.

Have you been contacted by an animal control officer? We can help navigate this world of laws for you. We are not just criminal defense attorneys, we are dog lovers too. You do not need to explain to us the importance of your dog – we will fight for your dog as if it’s our own. Based in Ann Arbor, we regularly defend people against misdemeanor and civil infraction violation charges in the 15th District Court.

Being charged with a crime such as a misdemeanor is stressful. We won’t let a criminal charge turn your life upside down. From the moment you first call us we will start work on a plan to resolve your case and fight your case.

Other types of cases heard in the 15th District Court include operating while intoxicated and other drunk driving charges, disorderly conduct, fake IDs, minor in possession, assault and battery, as well as stalking and domestic violence charges. We have experience with all of these charges and frequently appear in the 15th District Court on a variety of cases.

Contact Information